Last month we tested out Intel's new GLSL compiler for Mesa when running the ATI Radeon classic Mesa and Gallium3D drivers to see how this GL Shading Language compiler designed by Intel employee's for their hardware and open-source driver work for the other open-source drivers, since all of the Mesa drivers will be affected once this "GLSL2" compiler is merged into the Mesa code-base by month's end. The experience using Intel's new shader compiler with the ATI Radeon graphics driver worked fine except for Warsow where serious regressions were visible, but in the other games that are capable of running off Mesa, the experience was fine. What we have been curious to test since then with this new OpenGL shader compiler has been the LLVMpipe driver -- a Gallium3D driver we have been very excited about as it finally provides a better software rasterizer for Linux by leveraging Gallium3D and the Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler infrastructure for accelerating the Mesa state tracker atop a modern multi-core CPU that supports SSE4 instructions. We have now finished running tests of the Intel's GLSL2 branch with the most recent LLVMpipe driver code.
11 August 2010 - 14 Comments
Whether you are an owner of an ATI FirePro V3800 that retails for just over $100 USD, the proud owner of an ATI FirePro V8800 that goes for over $1,300 USD, or any of the FirePro products in-between, you will want to update your graphics driver when AMD puts out their next stable software update. Back in March AMD put out an amazing FirePro Linux driver that increased the performance of their workstation graphics cards already on the market (and the other Evergreen-based workstation cards that entered the market soon after) by an astonishing amount. Our independent tests of this proprietary Linux driver update found that the performance in some workstation applications had increased by up to 59% by simply installing this updated driver while other OpenGL tests had just improved rather modestly with 20%+ gains. AMD though is preparing to release another driver update for Microsoft Windows and Linux that ups their workstation graphics performance even more! We have run some tests of this new beta driver against their older driver with both their low-end and ultra-high-end FirePro products and have found the improvements again to be astonishing.
28 July 2010 - 10 Comments
With Intel developers earlier this week expressing their plans to merge their new GLSL compiler into Mesa by the end of next month, which besides providing various shader compiler optimizations and being a better framework going forward is already set to correct 50+ bugs, we decided to try out this Mesa "GLSL2" compiler. However, as Intel explicitly stated they haven't tested this new GL Shading Language compiler that's been in development for months with any other hardware drivers (or even Gallium3D) besides their own Intel DRI driver, we decided to see how well it works with the open-source Radeon classic and Gallium3D drivers. It ended up being both good and bad.
24 July 2010 - 10 Comments
Last quarter we compared the Catalyst and Mesa driver performance using an ATI Radeon HD 4830 graphics card, compared the Gallium3D and classic Mesa drivers for ATI Radeon X1000 series hardware, and ultimately found that even with the ATI R500 class graphics cards the open-source driver is still playing catch-up to AMD's proprietary Catalyst Linux driver. In this article we have similar tests to show the performance disparity with ATI's much older R300 class hardware. Even with Radeon hardware that has had open-source support much longer, their drivers are not nearly as mature as an outdated Catalyst driver in the same configuration.
14 July 2010 - 84 Comments
Two months ago we published our initial benchmarks of LLVMpipe, the Gallium3D driver that accelerated commands on the CPU rather than any GPU and unlike other Linux software rasterizers is much faster due to leveraging LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) on the back-end. Since then we have published new ATI Gallium3D driver benchmarks and yesterday put out Nouveau Gallium3D driver benchmarks, so today we are providing updated LLVMpipe driver results to show how well Gallium3D's LLVMpipe driver can accelerate your OpenGL games with a modern processor.
29 June 2010 - 36 Comments
In recent weeks we have published a number of benchmarks showcasing the ATI Gallium3D driver that supports the R300-R500 graphics processors as this open-source driver has been maturing at such an exciting rate with impressive changes and measurable performance gains over a short period of time. This ATI Gallium3D driver in most instances is outperforming the classic Radeon Mesa driver that supports up through the ATI Radeon X1000 series graphics cards. However, how is the Nouveau driver maturing that supports NVIDIA's wide-range of GeForce graphics cards? In February we published some Nouveau Gallium3D benchmarks, but now we have a fresh set of numbers from three different NVIDIA graphics cards and we also compare the Nouveau Gallium3D driver to NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver.
28 June 2010 - 59 Comments
In this month's AMD Catalyst 10.6 driver update for Linux they rolled out the ATI 2D Acceleration Architecture, which pleased many ATI Radeon customers, but they aren't the only ones working towards improved 2D support. Intel's open-source engineers have been working to optimize their xf86-video-intel DDX driver 2D performance with much of this work being clearly shown in the Intel 2.12 X.Org driver update. Here are some benchmarks showing the significant performance gains brought by this open-source Intel driver.
25 June 2010 - 5 Comments
It has been two years since the ATI Radeon HD 4800 (RV770) series launched so we have gone back since that monumental hardware launch and have re-tested each Catalyst driver release since then to see how the performance has changed for the ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card. The Catalyst driver has certainly matured over the course of two years in speeding up the OpenGL performance with this hardware along with bringing new features to their proprietary driver, but it is not exactly smooth sailing.
22 June 2010 - 36 Comments
Earlier this week AMD released the Catalyst 10.6 driver that on the Linux side of the table had finally made use by default of their new 2D acceleration architecture, offered official support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, and formalized their OpenGL 3.3/4.0 support. Since the release of the Catalyst 10.6 Linux driver, we have been running a new set of tests on their new ATI 2D acceleration architecture, but the results are not what you may expect when compared to the open-source ATI Linux driver.
20 June 2010 - 38 Comments
A number of weeks back a set of benchmarks were published showing even the latest open-source ATI 3D driver is still no match to an old Catalyst driver and that even Gallium3D lags behind the Catalyst driver for those interested in OpenGL gaming. However, in other areas the open-source ATI driver stack is beginning to win by measurable amounts.
19 June 2010 - 31 Comments
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